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What’s Obi Up To In Edo State?, By Jane Uyi

AHEAD of the September 21 governorship election, there is a pertinent question on the lips of every Obidient, and even non-Obidients in Edo State just now: ‘What is Mr Peter Obi up to in Edo State?’ Of course, Peter Obi needs no introduction in the Nigerian political space. He is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections who caused a lot of upset even though he did not win that election. That feat was made possible through the emergence of an organic movement aptly christened ‘The Obidient Movement.’ It was the Obidients that took the Labour Party, a hitherto obscure and unattractive party, to the height of emerging 3rd in 2023, and even so, many of them have refused to accept the verdict as pronounced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the courts in the land.

Achieving that unprecedented feat was courtesy of a nationwide sentiment anchored on Justice, Equity, Fairness, Competence, Capacity and Character. It was massively championed by the obedients, with Obi as the principal beneficiary. It is, therefore, very sad, provocative and condemnable to see the same Obi engaging in a ridiculous show of double standard or sheer political hypocrisy in Edo State. Or so it seems.

Yes, they say politics is about personal interest. And that in politics, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. But for conscience’s sake, Obi cannot toe that line having presented himself as an above board politician which all the more made the gospel of the Obedient very easy to propagate.

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The news in town as we speak is that Obi has stormed the ancient city of Benin and that on Saturday he would be officially throwing his weight behind the LP candidate, Olumide Akpata, in a show of public validation for the election.

But before he does that, here are some quick questions for Mr Peter Obi to answer. Is Obi not aware of the Esan Agenda in Edo state? Is Obi not aware that like the South East in the case of the Presidency of Nigeria, the Esan people also have not produced the governor of Edo State in the last 24 years? And that 16 of those 24 years, Edo South where his party picked its candidate from produced the governor? Does it not matter to Peter Obi if Esan people continue to suffer maginalisation in the state? Does Obi still believe in the core values and philosophy of The Obidient Movement? Does he still see Justice, Equity and Fairness and inclusivity as a sure means of building a strong, united and prosperous state and country? Is he not aware that Olumide Akpata is from the same senatorial district with Governor Godwin Obaseki? Has Obi forgotten so soon the sentiments upon which he was voted for in February 2023? Well, let Peter Obi be reminded that many Obidients in the state have vowed not to have anything to do with LP in the coming September 21 election. And that he should not be surprised if the momentum and enthusiasm among Obidients in the make starts to wane and make it impossible for them to support him in 2027 for taking side with his party in trampling on the core values of the Obidient Movement – Justice, Equity, Fairness, Inclusivity, Competence, Capacity, Character and Compassion in Edo State.

Recently, at an event in Benin City, a strong Obidient voice, Prof Chris Nwaokobia, expressed his total rejection of what the LP stands for in the Edo State governorship election. And very many Obidients adopted his argument. At the event, a symposium organised by the ALIGN MOVEMENT with the theme: ‘Empowering youth participation in politics and decision making process’ many youths expressed disappointment and displeasure at the manner in which LP threw the zoning arrangement in Edo out of the window.

Nwaokobia’s message was clear and unambiguous. He charged: “Youths must rise above the banal fabrics of partisanship and eschew partisan obscurantism for the nobler values of building a society where competency, character, compassion, credibility and commitment to the common good denominate our politics.

“Young people must elect the pristine values of equity, fairness and justice over party loyalty and affiliation, as only a sense of belonging, inclusiveness, inclusion and mutual trust can guarantee peace and development,” a submission that elicited loud applause across the hall.

Peter Obi is advised to painstakingly consider the immediate import and the long-term implications of whatever he is up to in Edo State today for his future political journey.

  •  Uyi writes from Benin City.

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